Albert Hofman, the inventor of LSD, called it "medicine for the soul." Songs were written about it, and the military conducted secret experiments that exploited its hallucinogenic powers.
LSD was outlawed in 1966, became a street drug and developed a reputation as the dangerous toy, seemingly capable of inspiring moments of genius or madness.
Today, science is taking a fresh look at LSD, including the first human trials in over 35 years. Using enhanced brain imaging, non-hallucinogenic laboratory versions of the drug, and information gathered from an underground network of test subjects who suffer from an agonizing condition for which there is no cure, researchers are finding that LSD could become the pharmaceutical of the future.
LSD's structure is similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin and fits into the serotonin receptors, stimulating their activity. Since 1990, the FDA has researching possible "psychedelics" for treating cluster headaches, depression, obsessive compulsion disorder, server anxiety in cancer patients, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, and addiction.
Can LSD enhance our brain power, expand our creativity and cure disease? To find out, National Geographic Explorer puts LSD under the microscope.
Tomorrow, November 7, National Geographic Explorer will air an episode called "Inside LSD" at 7pm eastern time. If you have a chance, catch the episode, and come back and tell us what you think.